When the Roman officer overseeing the execution saw what had happened, he worshiped God and said, "Surely this man was innocent." And when all the crowd that came to see the crucifixion saw what had happened, they went home in deep sorrow. But Jesus' friends, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance watching.
— Luke 23:47-49 NLT
What happens in your heart when you think of Jesus on the cross? If you are like me, it is hard to imagine. His suffering is especially hard to imagine during this season of the year when we are thinking about his birth. Our hearts are filled with emotion. The hearts of those who witnessed the Lord's suffering were filled with all sorts of emotions, too. The seasoned Roman officer handling the execution praised God and knew Jesus was not guilty of any crime. The crowd went home with deep sorrow. Jesus' friends watched from a distance. Which one best describes your reaction? Why? Don't you find it amazing that probably the least commendable, the least exemplary response was that of Jesus' friends? Let's not be just observers of the cross, but rather a people who are deeply sorrowed by our sins that took Jesus to the cross. However, in our sorrow, let's make sure we don't let grief consume us. Instead, let's praise God for his grace and the salvation he has provided for us. Then, rather than going into hiding like the fearful friends of Jesus (John 20:19), let's share the grace with others.
Holy and Almighty God, my heart breaks that Jesus had to die as a sacrifice for sin ... especially my sin. However, I praise you for your plan of grace, for your desire to provide mercy at the expense of your own heartbreak, and for your overwhelming love for people like me. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Related Scripture Readings
- Romans 4:23-25
- Romans 5:6-11
- 1 Corinthians 1:20-25
About This Devotional
What Jesus Did! is a series of one-year devotional guides through each gospel, using one short scripture passage each day and following the Gospel in sequential order. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage and a reflection and a prayer which open up the day's scripture and show how it challenges you to live for Jesus.
What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.